Top Home Renovation Mistakes (And Tips to Avoid Them)

Check out our list of the top renovation mistakes homeowners make & how to avoid them to keep your renovation or home addition project on-time, on budget & safe.

There are so many things to keep in mind when renovating your home. You have to juggle budgets, materials, labour, timelines and more. With all of these moving parts to manage, it can be easy to fall into costly and time-consuming mistakes. As professional home builders and renovators, we have seen a lot of these mistakes made by DIYers and less experienced contractors. To help you with your own renovation or home addition project, we’ve compiled a list of the top mistakes we see and advice on how to avoid them.

Setting an unrealistic budget & timeline

This is by far the most common renovation mistake we see homeowners making. Home renovation projects invariably cost more than expected and often unforeseen circumstances lead to a longer build time than you predicted.

How to avoid this mistake

If you are completing your home renovation project on your own, we recommend padding your budget and timeline from the start. Giving yourself about a 20% buffer for unexpected costs and two extra weeks – to account for any issues that may delay the work – should give you enough wiggle room. At Melanson Homes, we always give homeowners a quote that includes all costs right at the beginning of the project. We are committed to maintaining transparency and open communication throughout the build process to make sure there are no surprise costs or changes to the timeline.

Choosing the cheapest contractor & materials

If you decide to hire a professional for your renovation or home addition project, one of the first things you should do is collect estimates from a handful of reputable contractors. It’s always tempting to try to save money and go with the lowest quote you’re given – but, you get what you pay for. By selecting the cheapest option, you may be cutting corners or missing out on some important services that are worth the extra expense! The same goes for materials selection. Being realistic about what you can afford does not mean that you should skimp on quality. Cheap fixtures and materials will cost you more in the long run by having to be replaced more often.

How to avoid this mistake

To avoid this mistake, make sure your contractor understands what you want from the very beginning. Ask lots of questions about materials, layout and the construction process. Don’t select your contractor on price alone but on references, and the feeling that you could work well with them. With materials, spend your money wisely and make room in your budget for quality on the things that matter.

Focusing only on fancy finishes

Fancy finishes might give your final product that ‘wow factor’ but they don’t necessarily mean your renovation was done right. Your home should not only look good but be structurally sound. A renovation is more than just new appliances and fixtures – it’s about checking plumbing, the electrical and insulation and making sure everything is brought up to code.

How to avoid this mistake

To ensure you can address important areas like insulation, electrical and plumbing, you might need to shift focus away from visual elements a little bit in your budget. Also, make sure you take the time to plan out your renovation to address these less fancy but important elements of a renovation project.

Underestimating safety risks

Home renovations can be expensive – it’s not surprising that many homeowners opt to attempt their projects on their own. However, DIY renovations are only the right choice if you have the proper skills and experience. If you’re going mainly on guesswork you could end up causing major problems to the structure of your home and to your own safety.

How to avoid this mistake

Before deciding to make your home renovation a DIY project ask yourself: Have I done any large-scale home maintenance projects before? Do I have the specialized knowledge required to tackle tasks like electrical work and plumbing? If you answered no to any of those questions, you should probably bring in the professionals. If you feel confident in your DIY abilities – always wear protective clothing such as work boots, safety goggles, hearing protection and gloves when working.

Living in a renovation

Renovations can be very stressful and inconvenient, especially when you’re living within the construction zone during the project. A typical renovation or home addition means having the electrical, heating and water supply shut-off at times. This along with dirt, dust and the constant noise of a construction team, make staying in your home during a renovation something to be avoided.

How to avoid this mistake

By staying with someone else or somewhere else during the completion of you home renovation or home addition, you can eliminate ­– or at least decrease – a lot of the stress associated with the process. If you don’t have to spend money to stay elsewhere, you will likely save money on your project as having a crew clean up every day to accommodate you living in the home during the renovation normally add to the costs of the project.